Hillary Clinton’s campaign fanned out across the Sunday morning talk-show circuit to call on FBI Director James Comey to release more details about newly discovered emails he said were “pertinent” to the bureau’s investigation into her use of a private email server.
“As far as we know now, Director Comey knows nothing about the content of these emails,” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “We don’t know whether they’re to or from Hillary at all.”
Kaine called Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress Friday announcing a review of the emails — discovered on the laptop of disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin and the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation into his alleged sexting with a 15-year-old girl — “extremely puzzling.”
“Why would you release information that is so incomplete when you haven’t even seen the material yourself?” Kaine asked. “Eleven days before an election — why would you talk about an ongoing investigation? I just have no way of understanding these actions. They’re completely unprecedented. And that’s why I think he owes the American public more information.”
“If he hasn’t seen the emails,” Kaine added. “I mean, they need to make that completely plain.”
Yahoo News reported on Saturday that FBI agents had not been able to review any of the newly discovered material because the bureau had not yet gotten a search warrant to read them.
According to ABC News, Comey reached out to top Republicans and Democrats in Congress on Saturday to brief them on the agency’s review.
But as of Saturday night, the FBI was still in talks with the Justice Department about obtaining a warrant that would allow agency officials to read any of the newly discovered emails, and therefore the agency was still in the dark about whether the emails include classified material the bureau has not already seen.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta cited the Yahoo News report, saying Comey “should have taken further steps” before thrusting the email issue back into the race for the White House.
“To throw this in the middle of the campaign 11 days out just seemed to break with precedent and be inappropriate at this stage,” Podesta said. “If they’re not significant, they’re not significant. So he might have taken the first step of actually having looked at them before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign so close to the voting.
“I don’t fault him for taking a look at whatever he’s found,” Podesta continued. “But at this stage, having taken the step, then he at least ought to explain if he thinks they’re significant or not significant. Let him come forward and say why.”
In July, following an 11-month investigation, Comey recommended that no criminal charges be filed against Clinton over use of a private email server as secretary of state.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information,” Comey said at that time, “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Podesta said he believed Abedin, who had cooperated with the FBI’s original probe, had “complied to the best of her ability” and “turned everything over that she had in her possession.”
On NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said if the newly discovered emails are, in fact, from Abedin, then he assumes “they’d have to be redundant because she already turned over all of her emails.”
At a rally in Florida on Saturday, Clinton said that it was “pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election.”
“It’s not just strange,” Clinton said. “It’s unprecedented. And it is deeply troubling.”